So far this off-season the moves that the Denver Nuggets have made have left me scratching my head. After a “bizarre” draft night, they managed to land Paul Millsap who will be a great big name for Denver, and hopefully we will see a winning season at the Pepsi Center for the first time in a long time. However, the Nuggets roster is still over-crowded, feeling almost dysfunctional and disconnected.
The best way I can describe the problem at hand is a lack of focus. The Nuggets lack focus in roles and position, they lack focus on defense, and ultimately that will impact their ability to focus on winning games. Now, before I begin, let me start by saying I know that it’s still the off-season, and I’m certain there will be plenty of moves to come—at least I hope there will be moves to come. In the meantime, the problem is front and center heading into Summer League, and it needs to be addressed quickly.
A lot can be said about the power of focus. When I think of focus, the picture that comes to mind is a laser. For you science geeks, here’s a crude lesson: A laser works when electrons become “excited” or charged with energy. The electrons then begin to emit light on the same wavelength or frequency which allows them to become coherent. The light that’s emitted is directed to travel in the same direction at the same coherent wavelength. Because of this coherent focus, a laser light can travel incredible distances—even to the moon and back.
Catching my drift here?
Right now the Nuggets are dealing with far too many players on the roster. No one is quite sure what their role will be, or how many minutes they’ll get to play each game. Due to the abundance of forwards on the team, some may even be wondering if they’ll be playing for the Nuggets in a few weeks.
To compound the problem, Millsap is now in the picture and Gallinari is out, meaning there will be a shift in leadership that everyone will need to adjust to. These circumstances undermine the Nuggets’ foundation of focus in that it’s difficult to get excited when everyone is moving in a different direction, and no one knows the plan.
Only five players are allowed on the court at any given time—two guards, two forwards and a center (or some variation thereof). If the Nuggets want to be successful next season they need to develop a plan and execute. If the plan is to develop the young core (Jamal Murray, Malik Beasley, Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Juancho Hernangomez, & Nikola Jokic) while bringing in Millsap to mentor and get wins in the meantime then they need to trim the fat ASAP, and work on developing a defensive mindset.
Precious resources are being poured into the players the Nuggets have sitting around on the roster who likely won’t see a second of playing time this coming season. This team has a lot of assets they can utilize in making trades, and hopefully they’ll look to make moves that add some experienced defense to the perimeter while the young guns learn the ropes.
Regardless of what the plan of action is, it needs to begin unfolding immediately so the team has time to get excited, get on the same wavelength, and move forward in the same direction. It’s time to get focused.